La Tempête- Monteverdi: Vespro - MusicWeb International - ROTY - RH

A cogent blend of vernacular, formal and spiritual elements" is a phrase I am more than happy to recycle to summarise my Recording of the Year. There are countless wonderful recordings of Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610, but none of them approach the universality, exoticism, fervour and mystery of Simon-Pierre Bestion's miraculous, if controversial realisation. Purists may baulk at the idea of extending this monumental work by an hour; Bestion liberally interpolates Gregorian antiphons and earthy faux-bourdons, enhances the instrumentarium, and leads his singers and players in a vision of the work which openly embraces a plethora of cosmopolitan traditions. The performance standards are beyond extraordinary; the recording takes one's breath away, literally and repeatedly. Opulent, magnificent and moving, it amounts to a celebration of life and brotherhood. I couldn't recommend it highly enough at any time, but at this particular moment Vespro truly seems like a gift from the Gods. In fact, I'm going to put it on right now.... 

MusicWeb International
01 December 2020